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Top 10 Ways to Write a Compelling CTA

Top 10 Ways to Write a Compelling CTA

While creating call-to-action copy may seem simple compared to the plot generation and character development of writing a best-selling novel, CTAs are not necessarily easy to master.

So what can you do to make your CTAs this season’s top clicks? Here are 10 tips to get your creative juices flowing.

1.  Convey value.

When crafting a call-to-action, you don’t have much space or many words to work with, so you need to get right to the point. And the most important question your CTA should answer is this: What’s in it for me?

In order to zero in your CTA copy, think first about the top two or three benefits your offer provides to a potential customer and then list them in order of priority. Pick the most critical one and write it in just a few words.


2.  Create urgency.

If the most important question your prospects ask is “What’s in it for me?,” the second most important question is “Why should I do this today?”

Your CTA needs to give them a reason to follow through now, rather than putting it off for tomorrow—or never.

Urgency could be created by seasonal discounts, limited-time offers, or even a reminder that each day they wait is an opportunity missed.

3.  Make it personal.

Personalizing a CTA can be as simple as tying it in to the place on your website where it is located. If a visitor is already reading a review of the latest hybrid car model on your auto dealership website, use a CTA that offers to schedule a test drive for that vehicle.

You can also use dynamic content to target your website’s visitors based on geographic area, as QuickSprout did when JONES writer Shari Hegland, based in La Crosse, Wisc., browsed its site.

Top 10 Ways to Write a Compelling CTA

Dynamic content also allows you to greet return visitors by name, company name or other identifying information they provided through landing page forms in previous visits to your site.

4.  Use testimonials.

Just like social proof (those tickers on blogs showing how many “likes,” “shares,” and “tweets” they have received), testimonials in calls-to-action provide a third-party endorsement and motivate visitors to take the next step.

HubSpot uses quotes from its customers about their success on its home page to showcase the information a prospective customer needs to know.

Manpacks, shown below, uses a combination of testimonial and social proof on its landing page with the statement “Join 1000s of men already signed up.”

Top 10 Ways to Write a Compelling CTA

5.  Include numbers.

Just as you use numbers in blog titles to grab attention and draw readers in, numbers also capture the eye of prospects on the web. Providing data and specifics cuts through the clutter of vague online content with a strong message.

Statistics convey credibility and present you as an industry expert.


6.  Turn it into a bonus.

Everyone likes getting a little something extra, right? So keep visitors coming back, or moving on to other pages on your website, by framing your CTA as a bonus offer. For example, if a visitor subscribes to your blog, send an email with a call-to-action offering special subscriber access to a webinar.

7.  Make it newsworthy.

If you have the flexibility to change or add calls-to-action frequently, create CTAs that piggyback on newsworthy content or current industry happenings. If your industry, or something related, is in the news put a fun or controversial spin on it that ties into one of your offers.

8.  Be confident in your language.

Use strong language and bold statements about how you can help your visitors address their challenges. Offer “The Definitive Guide to Collecting Bottle Caps” or “Everything You Need to Know About Bottle Caps,” not just “Bottle Caps.”

Here are five weak words or phrases to avoid, not only in CTAs, but in all of your writing.

9.  Ask questions.

Questions are another example of a writing technique that works well across many platforms, from emails and blog posts to social media updates (which, really, are often themselves calls-to-action, inviting interaction with your blog, website or profile).

Craft your CTA with question, followed by a short response and a link.

Top 10 Ways to Write a Compelling CTA

10.  Be subtle.

I know I’ve said before that calls-to-action need to be just that: strong calls urging the reader to DO SOMETHING. But HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella says that sometimes the subtle approach is more effective.

“People like to think that everything they do comes from some logical, un-manipulated part of their own brain,” he explains. “You should make them want to do it in such a way that it feels like the idea was their own.” So experiment with language that is less commanding and more thought-provoking.

Which do you think will work better: strong and direct or subtle? Try a little A/B testing to see which your customers respond to more.

Now you know 10 ways to write CTA copy that gets results. Take your call-to-action expertise up another notch with these helpful posts:

Or just download our Comprehensive Guide to Designing and Executing Calls-to-Action for everything you need to know.

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